Kelsey Hyde

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Special Education

Committee Member

Sarah Ginsberg, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Wanda Kent, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lidia Lee, Ph.D.


Over the course of the past few decades, dual system hypothesis has become the prevailing model of bilingual language development. This replaced the previously accepted unitary system hypothesis after decades of debate and research. It has also had an impact on the understanding of bilingual literacy development in children. This qualitative study investigates how this hypothesis influences and informs the work of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who work with bilingual children. For this study, four bilingual SLPs who work with bilingual children in various settings were interviewed regarding their views and education on bilingual language development for the purpose of understanding how their perspectives on bilingual development informs their work. The four participants each had views that aligned with the tenets of dual system hypothesis, such as the understanding that inputs from multiple languages starting in infancy does not impede language development. They also all expressed the important role language input plays in a child’s language development. Lastly, an unexpected, overarching theme of cultural and linguistic bias affecting the language development of bilingual language children arose from all four participants in these interviews.